10 Ways to Get Your Teen to Unplug
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Do you have a teenager? Are they always connected to a device? What teen isn’t? Teens of today are always texting, snapping, and live streaming every moment of their life using their mobile devices. The biggest downside is that they are more disconnected from physical relationships, and miss opportunities to learn essential social skills. How do you get your teen to disconnect and join your family at the moment? These are our ten top tips:
1. Hide the chargers. While this is not my #1 recommendation, and there will be tears, your teen will be forced to unplug, and spend quality time with your family.
2. Cut off their wifi. There are multiple devices that parents can utilize that will help with managing their children’s online access. There is the KoalaSafe, Circle, and cell phone providers offer a great variety of parent controls.
3. Plan a social event with their friends. Get your teenagers friends together to do something where they can’t be plugged in. Bring a group of friends to the local pool, waterpark or a hike in your local, national park (most national parks lack cell reception).
4. Make plans to do something that interests your teen. Find something that your teenager enjoys doing whether it’s going to a museum or shopping at the mall, and encourage them to leave their cell phone home before leaving.
5. Set limits. Encourage your teen to be more disconnected from their device by giving them time limits, and reminders. If your teen doesn’t respect your online time limits, then make sure they are aware of the consequences if they push their online time.
6. Show them programming that encourages them to unplug. Netflix offers lots of programming that will help open a healthy discussion with parents including encouraging teens to unplug. The Girl Meets Boy ‘Social Media FOMO’ (episode 102) tackles the issue of unplugging and having face-to-face conversations to bring each other closer.
7. Reward your teens. Positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage your teen to unplug and not abuse their online access. Set rewards for your teenager, and make them aware of the rewards they will receive when balancing their online time with real life engagement.
8. Be patient. Be understanding. One of the hardest things I’ve come across when encouraging my teenage to unplug is patience and understanding. They are growing up in a world much different than ours, and putting myself in the shoes of my teenager has helped with understanding the difficulty he faces with unplugging.
9. Talk to your teen. Having open communication is the best way to help your teenage unplug. Make sure and talk with your teenager on a regular basis about the importance of unplugging, and why it is important to you as a parent. If it is an open, ongoing discussion, it will be easier for your teen to understand why where you are coming from.
10. Give them a taste of your childhood. Plan a day with your teen doing something that you enjoyed doing as a teenager. Show them how fun it is to go for a bike ride around the neighborhood or get candy from the gas station. Have fun with it by planning a “flash back to the past” get together with their friends.
Parenting is not easy, and parenting teens in this generation are harder than before. Just have faith in yourself, and know that you’re doing a great job!
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